Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said Sunday on CNN that he would not support the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion budget bill citing a lack of “urgency.” Manchin, who on Sept. 2 had called for a “strategic pause” in the Democrats’ spending agenda, is considered a key vote in the evenly split Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had said he was moving forward with the $3.5 trillion package — a key initiative for Democrats, who control the White House, Senate and House.
“He will not have my vote on $3.5 [trillion] and Chuck knows that, and we’ve talked about this,” Manchin said in an interview with Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“We’ve already put out $5.4 trillion and we’ve tried to help Americans in every way we possibly can and a lot of the help that we’ve put out there is still there and it’s going to run clear until next year, 2022, so what’s the urgency? What’s the urgency that we have? It’s not the same urgency that we had with the American Rescue Plan. We got that out the door quickly. That was about $2 trillion.”
Bash prodded Manchin to disclose a dollar figure he might be willing to accept. Manchin would not cite a number, instead responding that “you’re going to have to look at it and find out what you’re able to do through a reasonable, responsible way.”
Manchin suggested he would like to see Americans get help now instead of over 10 years, which is what the bill entails. He said Biden and Congress should place more attention on issues such as inflation and the 8 million Americans who are unemployed.
“Eight million people are still unemployed. Something’s not matching up. Don’t you think we ought to hit the pause and find out?” he said.
”We don’t know about inflation, we know it’s running rampant right now, I can tell you in West Virginia inflation is running rampant, and on top of that, the challenges we’re going to have geopolitical challenges, shouldn’t we be prepared?”
Manchin also added that “there’s no way we can get this done by the 27th,” which is the deadline set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The bill seeks to expand health care, childcare support, education, as well as create jobs and fight climate change. It would be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
Manchin has recommended that Congress take more time to consider options.
“Let’s sit back. Let’s see what happens,” Manchin said at an event in West Virginia. “We have so much on our plate. We really have an awful lot. I think that would be the prudent, wise thing to do.”
Sen. Joe Manchin on CNN says he will not vote for the $3.5 infrastructure bill pic.twitter.com/Czhm7KpStX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 12, 2021
Joe Manchin’s rhetoric may sound nice to some Americans, until they realize he’s saying he doesn’t find the following items “urgent”: affordable child care, Medicare expansion, and planet-saving climate action. https://t.co/GE63QUOPKA
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) September 12, 2021